Monday, August 13 08:21:55
Energy group Element Power is planning to spend up to E70 million on a new wind-powered electricity project, it emerged at the weekend. The Irish division of the multinational business announced last month that it plans to invest E8 billion in a series of wind farms in the midlands that will export electricity to Britain. At the weekend, it confirmed it is going ahead with plans to develop a 36-megawatt (MW) wind farm at Monaincha, Co Tipperary, which it hopes will be close to completion in a year's time. Element would not say how much the project is likely to cost. On the basis of an industry rule of thumb that such developments cost about E2 million per MW, it has a E70 million-plus price tag. The turbines, which form a large part of the investment involved, are likely to cost at least E30 million.
Online trade publication reNews said Element had chosen Nordex as the preferred turbine supplier. The project will require 15 machines capable of generating 2.4 MW each. These cost about E900,000 per MW of output, putting the cost at just short of E33 million. The Monaincha wind farm is designed to supply electricity to the Irish national grid rather than export it to Britain.
Kevin O'Donovan, the company's chief development officer for Ireland, said energy minister Pat Rabbitte's recent decision to introduce a new round of supports for green energy had prompted it to move ahead with the project. "There are a lot of things that you need to have in place for a wind energy project," he said. "That was one of them, so we decided to go ahead." Mr O'Donovan said the turbines the company intends to instal at Monaincha are designed to operate at lower wind speeds than those generally used in Ireland. "In that respect, they are new technology," he added. The Irish Times
The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) has appointed receivers to a series of companies controlled by Limerick developer Robert Butler. The national agency has appointed Michael Miland and Des Lennon of Jones Lang Lasalle as statutory receivers to 15 companies in the Robert Butler construction group. Established 30 years by chairman Robert Butler, the group's development portfolio includes substantial properties in the Shannon Free Zone and the National Technology Park in Limerick. Part of the group's property portfolio is the former Anglo Irish Bank House at Limerick's Henry Street. The group's website describes itself as "one of the leading Irish commercial property development firms".
Earlier this year, a palatial residential property built for Mr Butler at Adare sold for E1.9 million - E10 million less than its original asking price of E12 million in 2008. The latest accounts filed by the group in May of this year showed that at the end of August 2010, 14 companies had an overall net deficit of E43.7 million. The companies listed to have a receiver appointed include Robert Butler Holdings Ltd, Robert Butler (Investments) Ltd, Playa Investments Ltd, Mount Kennett Developments Ltd, Robert Butler Group Ltd, Robert Butler Realty Ltd, Dooradoyle BT Properties, Bluefort Properties and Millgrove Properties Ltd.
In its latest accounts for Robert Butler Group Ltd, auditors PGL from Clonskeagh, Dublin 14, provided a disclaimer on the view given in the financial statements because of the limited audit evidence available. The auditors state: "With respect to net inter-group receivables of E20 million and provision thereon of E10.9 million, the evidence available to us regarding recovery was limited because of the financial position of the company - in view of the extent of its bank indebtedness and that of the group as a whole. The Irish Times
Port of Cork chairman Dermot O'Mahoney has expressed satisfaction's at the port's performance in 2011. It achieved an operating profit before exceptional costs of E1.3 million - down by E700,000 from 2010 - on a turnover of E21.4 million. Traffic amounted to 8.8 million tonnes in 2011, which matched 2010 levels, with oil amounting to 4.96 million tonnes and non-oil traffic accounting for 3.4 million tonnes, according to Mr O'Mahoney. Oil traffic, handled mainly at Conoco Phillips Whitegate Oil refinery, was down 1 per cent on 2010 but non-oil traffic maintained the same level as 2010. Container traffic in 2011 increased by 6 per cent to 156,667 TEUs (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit).
This maintained the port's status as the second busiest in Ireland in terms of containers handled, said Mr O'Mahoney, adding that the port has started to experience signs of recovery in certain trades. "I believe that the Port of Cork is central to a brighter economic future for the Irish economy and particularly for the Munster region given the value it brings in moving goods to market for both customers and businesses," he said. "As one of Ireland's major ports, we must continue to grow . The Irish Times
Clerys, the iconic Dublin department store, is on the brink of being sold to Gordon Brothers Group, one of America's oldest restructuring specialists. Gordon Bros has provisionally said it is prepared to pay about E14m to take over about E26m in debt owed by Clerys to Bank of Ireland. The Boston-based restructuring and debt advisory firm is interested in taking over the retail element of Clerys, which has been owned by the Guiney family for 70 years.
More detailed discussions are still taking place, however, around what to do with a number of development sites near the O'Connell Street store that were acquired by the department store during the boom with a view to future expansion. Gordon Bros has been very active globally, looking for bargains or debt restructuring opportunities during the bust. It works on $50bn (E40.66bn) worth of transactions and appraisals annually. In the 12 months to the end of January 2011, Clerys recorded a loss of E2m as its gross turnover declined by 8.4 per cent. A note to the company's accounts states that it granted Bank of Ireland security over all of its group assets in 2011. The Irish Independent